A toilet flush valve—one of the two major components in the toilet tank—consists of an overflow tube, a toilet flapper (with attached chain), a rubber seal or gasket, and a circular base where the flapper sits to stop the flow of water from the tank to the bowl. Sitting next to it in the tank is the toilet fill valve, which is responsible for filling the tank after the flush valve has emptied it.
If your toilet constantly or intermittently runs (and makes that annoying hissing sound), or the tank is slow to fill, the flush valve may be on the fritz. To find out for sure, squeeze a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the flush valve is functioning correctly, the coloring will remain in the tank, but if the color seeps into the toilet bowl, the valve is leaking.
Replacing a toilet flush valve is a plumbing or toilet repair many DIYers seek to take on. The best toilet flush valve for your home depends on the compatibility of the new flush valve with your current toilet. This involves either matching up the size and type of flush valve that you currently have or finding a different type of flush valve that is compatible with your toilet.
To tackle a replacement repair, you may wish to familiarize yourself with the types of toilet flush valves and their various features—information that is within this guide. The guide also explains why the products below, chosen for their efficacy and overall value, are considered among the best toilet flush valves available.
- BEST OVERALL: Fluidmaster 507AKP7 2-Inch Flush Valve Repair Kit
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Fluidmaster 555CRP8 Universal PerforMAX Toilet Valve
- BEST TOWER-STYLE: Kohler Genuine Part 1083980 3″ Canister Valve Kit
- BEST 4-INCH: American Standard 3280.040-0070A Flush Valve
- BEST DUAL: Next by Danco HYR270 Water-Saving Dual Flush Valve
- BEST REPAIR KIT: Fluidmaster 400AKR Universal Tank Repair Kit
Types of Toilet Flush Valves
Toilet flush valves come in the following formats: standard, 3-inch, 4-inch, tower-style (also called canister-style), and dual flush valves.
A standard toilet flush valve is 2 inches in size and works with most low-flow toilets and older toilet models. The most commonly found type in residential homes, it is the least expensive and most frequently purchased toilet flush valve.
This style of toilet flush valve consists of a hinged flapper that attaches directly to the base of the overflow tube and also attaches with a chain to the top of the overflow tube. The flapper sits in the seat of the flush valve at the bottom of the toilet to stop water from flowing through to the toilet bowl. The seat of the flush valve has a large plastic bolt that goes through the hole in the tank bottom to fasten the flush valve to the tank with a large plastic bolt that must be secured from the underside of the tank.
3-Inch Flush Valve
The design of a 3-inch flush valve is the same as that of a standard flush valve but is made for toilets with a 3-inch opening in the base of the tank. The larger opening allows more water to flow into the tank at a faster pace, which can give the toilet a more effective flush to ensure that users need not double flush.
4-Inch Flush Valve
The standard 4-inch flush valve is intended for toilets with a tank-to-bowl opening of about 4 inches—a bump in size that provides a more powerful flush as the flow of water into the toilet bowl increases. Beyond this size difference, the style and way that the valve works is exactly the same as standard and 3-inch flush valves.
Tower (a.k.a. Canister) Flush Valve
A tower-style or canister-style flush valve can come in several sizes, depending on the toilet. Rather than a fragile hinged flapper that is a common breaking point for standard flush valves, these flush valves employ a vertical flapper that sits directly underneath the overflow tube. This design produces a 360-degree flow through the base of the toilet tank into the toilet bowl, allowing you to increase the effectiveness of the flush without increasing the size of the toilet flush valve.
Dual Flush Valve
Dual flush valves, like the tower- or canister-style flush valves, sit directly on top of the tank-to-bowl hole. These valves offer both a low-flow and high-flow option, enabling you to reduce overall water consumption by choosing the low-flow flush when only liquid is in the toilet.
This style of toilet flush valve may feature a flush button system with one button for low-flow and a second button for high-flow. Or, instead, it may have a flush lever system that can be pressed down for a high-flow flush or lifted up for a low-flow flush. When a stronger flush is required and you employ the lever or button accordingly, the flapper is completely removed from the tank-to-bowl hole for a more forceful flush that rids solid waste.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Toilet Flush Valve
Before choosing a toilet flush valve, it’s helpful to educate yourself on the following important factors and features.
The material a toilet flush valve is made of is an important consideration to ensure leak-free longevity. On average, a toilet flush valve should last between six and seven years, more or less, depending on the harshness of cleaning chemicals used, the frequency of toilet use, and the quality of the water.
Hardy materials that protect against corrosion, rusting, and wear include ABS plastic and rubber, both naturally resistant to the damage that water can cause over time. Stainless steel is a strong alternative that offers a higher level of strength and durability, but metal runs the risk of rusting and breaking, especially if your home has hard water.
Flush valves are designed to suit specific types of toilets. Due to this specification, not all toilet flush valves will work with all toilet models, even if the basic sizing (2-inch, 3-inch, or 4-inch) matches. This is because different toilet manufacturers may use their own company-standard measurements instead of industry-standard measurements. When this occurs, you may be stuck with a 3-inch flush valve that doesn’t quite seal, despite your toilet requiring a 3-inch valve.
To ensure you are purchasing the correct flush valve, look for one made by the same company as your toilet, and refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the exact product number listing. If in doubt, look for a universal replacement kit that can adapt to a variety of toilet models, but make sure to get the correct size (2-inch, 3-inch, or 4-inch) for your toilet.
Ease of Installation
As DIY tasks go, replacing a toilet flush valve can be challenging for those without experience working with toilets or plumbing in general. The repair involves shutting off the water at the toilet, draining and drying the tank, and disconnecting the water supply. Then, to remove the flush valve, take off the flapper, remove the (two or three) tank-to-base bolts, lift the tank, remove the rubber gasket, and loosen the flush valve nut.
To make this project easier, find a toilet flush valve that matches your current setup as closely as possible so you needn’t be concerned about overflow tube height adjustments or an incorrect seal in the base of the tank. Look for a product that includes the parts required for the job as well as clear instructions to guide you through the installation.
Before purchasing a replacement toilet flush valve, examine your current tank setup—the rubber gasket, tank-to-bowl hardware (nuts, bolts, and washers), and any of the other fasteners. If you notice rusting or wear in these areas, it may be wise to find a toilet flush valve kit that includes the parts needed to replace your current toilet flush valve and to change out the toilet’s fastening hardware; otherwise, you could end up with a leak in the near future. Finding a product with these included parts will also make it easier to follow guided instructions for replacing your toilet flush valve so that you do not inadvertently make a mistake in the installation.
The intended purpose of a toilet flush valve is to provide a leakproof seal between the tank and the toilet. So it’s not surprising that most flush valve manufacturers claim that their products have a leakproof seal—and this may be true in specific circumstances or for a specific time period. However, to help ensure a secure, long-lasting leakproof seal, find a flush valve compatible with your toilet in both size and type that has a heavy, durable flapper that sits tightly in the tank-to-bowl hole seat of the toilet flush valve. The gasket between the tank and bowl should also be made of high-grade rubber that can flex to form a strong seal between materials to prevent water from leaking between the gaps.
A toilet flush valve with water-saving features can help you save money on your water bill. The less water that flows through the toilet when you flush it, the less water to pay for.
Standard 2-inch toilet flush valves are often used in low-flow toilets because their small size reduces the amount of water that can flow through to the bowl. Alternatively, you can get a dual-flush valve with a low-flow flush function to conserve water when you only need to flush liquids. Another option is a product that has an adjustable overflow tube so that the tank doesn’t fill with as much water—this will result in less water per flush, decreasing overall water usage.
Our Top Picks
The products below were chosen for quality and price according to the shopping considerations outlined above.
Simple, straightforward, and effective, this Fluidmaster repair kit includes the fasteners and parts required for a replacement and is compatible with most toilets that have a 2-inch standard flush valve. This flush valve also comes with basic instructions as an installation guide.
A beneficial aspect of this standard flush valve is an adjustable flapper that can be rotated to fit at a slightly different angle. This gradually increases the flow rate of the water that passes from the tank to the bowl, giving you a customizable flush. The overflow tube is not adjustable, however, so measure the proper standing water level for the tank and cut the overflow tube to the proper height if it is too long.
Not every flush valve problem requires replacing the valve. So if your standard flush valve loses the flapper or the hinge pieces break off the overflow tube, you can try to get your toilet functioning again with this Fluidmaster repair kit. It features a durable ABS plastic seat and a rubber flapper designed to last and defer leaks.
Rather than the overflow tube, seat, seal, and nut typically sold with a replacement flush valve, this kit has a flat base with an adhesive back that sticks to the existing flush valve seat at a slight angle so the overflow tube won’t interfere with the hinge. The attached flapper can then be connected by the chain to the existing overflow tube to restore toilet function.
If you’d like to pump up the flushing power of your Kohler Cimarron toilet, this flush valve kit is a solid option. Flush power increases with a tower-style model because the flapper lifts vertically from the tank-to-bowl hole instead of partially blocking it with a hinge, allowing water to flow through from any direction in a 360-degree range. This 3-inch flush valve, made of corrosion-resistant ABS plastic, also features multiple fill line points on the side of the overflow tube to indicate where to set the most effective water level height for your new flush valve.
While this tower-style flush valve comes with instructions and the parts necessary to complete the installation, it does not include additional fasteners to replace existing tank-to-toilet bolts. It is also primarily compatible with Kohler Cimarron toilets and may not properly seal toilets made by other manufacturers.
If the 4-inch flush valve of your Veneto or Champion 4 American Standard toilet is leaking or otherwise performing poorly, consider replacing it with this product, designed specifically to fit the company’s toilets. The 4-inch flush valve allows a large volume of water to quickly flow from the tank to the bowl, increasing the flushing power of the toilet.
The ABS plastic flush valve and rubber flapper create a strong, durable seal that should allow your toilet to function without flush valve leaks for years. However, the overflow tube is only 7 inches tall, so if you have a tall toilet tank or toilet fill valve, this short flush valve may not be compatible. Measure the bottom of the tank to the current water level in your toilet to determine the necessary overflow tube length.
With the Next by Danco Water-Saving Dual Flush Valve, you can replace your existing standard toilet flush valve with a dual flush valve to reduce your water consumption at the toilet—up to 70 percent, according to the manufacturer. The flush valve comes with a dual flush button to replace your existing flush lever, retrofitting your toilet so that you can use a low-flow flush for liquid and a high-flow flush for solid waste.
The flush valve comes with installation instructions to help you replace your existing flush valve. However, this flush valve will not work if the clearance level in your toilet tank is less than 10 inches, due to the size of the overflow tube.
Replacing the toilet flush valve typically requires draining and removing the tank. Since you’ve got to do that grunt work, you may opt to replace the tank-to-bowl bolts, gasket, and fill valve for a more complete upgrade. This universal repair kit for 2-inch flush valve toilets is a solid choice to get the job done.
It includes a standard 2-inch flush valve, standard fill valve, fastening hardware, sealing gasket, and even a new flush lever. Detailed installation instructions are included to guide you through the project.
The Advantages of Owning the Best Toilet Flush Valve
The flush valve is one of the most important parts of your toilet because it prevents the continuous flow of water into the toilet bowl. By stopping the flow of water after the toilet has been flushed, the valve prevents excess water from being used. A faulty toilet flush valve will allow water to continue to seep through, costing you money in water bills.
A faulty flush valve can also cause water to intermittently turn on to fill the tank, leading to an ongoing flowing water sound that can be a real nuisance. What’s more, replacing the faulty fill valve means the toilet won’t have to work as hard, lessening ongoing wear and tear and potentially extending the life of the entire toilet.
- With a new toilet flush valve, you can reduce water consumption and save money.
- A replacement toilet flush valve will make your toilet quieter, allowing you to live in your home in peace.
- Replacing a faulty toilet flush valve can extend the life of your toilet.
Toilet Flush Valve Replacement Guide
A toilet flush valve is likely to wear out faster than the toilet itself. So if the time comes when you must replace it, consider the following installation guidelines, but always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for specific product differences.
1. Empty the toilet and remove the toilet flush valve
- Turn off the water supply feeding the toilet using the shut-off valve located at the back of the toilet. Flush to drain the bulk of the water from the tank.
- Use a sponge or cloth to soak up the remaining water from the tank so you can work with a dry tank.
- Disconnect the water supply hose and the flapper, making sure to disconnect the flapper chain from the overflow tube.
- Loosen the nuts underneath until the top of the tank can be lifted off the base, and remove the thick rubber seal from the bottom of the tank.
- Loosen and remove the plastic nut on the bottom of the toilet flush valve so you can take the flush valve out of the toilet tank.
- Clean the hole where the flush valve was sitting and the area around it with a basic noncorrosive bathroom cleaning solution and cloth to remove leftover debris.
2. Replace the toilet flush valve.
- Replace the rubber seal in the base of the toilet. Ensure that it forms a complete seal in the bottom of the toilet to prevent leaks by inspecting the edges of the seal to ensure it is sitting flat against the porcelain without gaps or spacing.
- Connect the new valve in the same way the old valve was installed, ensuring that the toilet flush valve is positioned correctly and the plastic nut is tightened adequately.
- Return the tank to its position on the base of the toilet, and tighten the bowl-to-tank nuts so the tank is secure and sitting in the correct orientation.
- Adjust the length of the chain on the flapper to the correct level—there should be a little slack in the chain to allow the flapper to close.
- Connect the chain to the overflow tube and the flapper to the toilet flush valve.
- Finally, reconnect the water-supply hose and get ready for the first leak test.
3. Test the new toilet flush valve.
- Once the new toilet flush valve is in place, turn on the water at the toilet’s shut off valve and allow the toilet tank to fill up.
- Check the bottom of the tank for leaks using a flashlight and some paper towels, which will quickly show whether any moisture is leaking from the tank.
- Once the tank is full, listen for the sound of water leaking through the seal, or wait to see whether the tank will begin filling again on its own. These are both signs that the flush valve has not been replaced correctly.
- If a leak occurs or the valve is passing water into the toilet bowl, then repeat Steps 1 to 3, ensuring that the valve is positioned correctly and tightened adequately before testing again.
FAQs About Your New Toilet Flush Valve
Before investing in a new toilet flush valve, consider the answers to these frequently asked questions.
Q. Are all toilet flush valves the same?
No. Toilet flush valves come in a variety of sizes, and there are also several types, including standard, tower- or canister-style, and dual flush valve.
Q. How do you clean a toilet flush valve?
If you suspect that your toilet flush valve is not working properly, cleaning it may fix the issue.
- Turn off your water supply at the toilet’s shut-off valve to prevent further water from entering into the back of the toilet.
- Flush the toilet to clear the remaining water from the tank and use a sponge or cloth to mop up any water still sitting in the bottom.
- Lift the valve seat or flapper, and scrub it with a noncorrosive bathroom cleaning solution; avoid drain cleaner or undiluted bleach.
- Remove the seal and clean the bottom of the toilet tank.
- Clean and inspect the seal before either replacing the seal with a new one or reinstalling the cleaned seal.
- Check that the flush valve is closing correctly by turning on the water at the shut-off valve and allowing the tank to fill.
- If water does not pass through the closed flush valve, cleaning the valve and seal has remedied the issue. If this is not the case, check that everything is correctly installed, and consider replacing the flush valve.
Q. How long does a toilet flush valve last?
Flush valves will commonly wear out before your toilet, lasting on average between six and seven years, depending on the quality of water, frequency of toilet use, and whether you’ve used harsh chemical cleaners.
Q. How do you know if your toilet flush valve is bad?
If your toilet flush valve is faulty, the toilet has gotten noisier, the tank is slower to refill or possibly will not refill at all (causing the toilet to continue running indefinitely), or the tank begins leaking. You can determine whether this is the flush valve or the fill valve by looking at the overflow tube in the toilet. If the water level is overflowing into the tube, then the issue is the fill valve. If the water level stays below the top of the tube, the problem is being caused by the flush valve releasing water through the seal.
Q. How much does it cost to replace a toilet flush valve?
On average it costs about $70 to $150 to have a plumber replace a toilet flush valve. Replacing this part on your own costs between $5 and around $25.